Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Random Reads: Starlog Magazines from 1984!!!

All right... the time has come. I am officially getting ready to delete the content from Really Rather Random Guy (dot blogspot dot com) and in preparing for that, I wanted to import a bunch of the content that I know will then be lost forever, by bringing the posts over here to Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks (dot blogspot dot com). So, with that in mind, I thought I would preface these entries with the fact that they are indeed OLD blog posts from an OLD, now DEFUNCT blog, and cross my fingers and hope that folks will still want to read them.

This post was originally published back on February 7th, 2014.

I've mentioned Scottie's Books on more than one occasion in the past, and almost never fail to find something fun when I go in there. A few weeks ago I stopped in and found a couple of issues of Starlog magazine for a few dollars apiece. 

Back in the day I was never a fan of Starlog as I associated it too much with Fangoria which scared me so badly as a child that it made me physically ill to even see on the newsstand. That last sentence probably sounds like an exaggeration, but I assure you it was not. I was shocked when I googled it to find out that it actually only went out of print in 2009 which feels way too recent. 

Since I normally wouldn't have been interested in Starlog in the past, I didn't even pick these up when I initially saw them, and then finally I saw the word "Gremlins" on the covers of both magazines, and that pretty much did it for me. Upon closer examination I saw features inckuding Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, The Neverending Story, Cloak and Dagger, Muppets Take Manhatten, and the Last Starfighter. And this was all just from a cursory scan of the covers. (Completely ignoring the Buckaroo Bonzai and Conan the Destroyer photos on the covers) I didn't even open the poly-bags on these until I got them home. 

Now, I'm going about this a bit bass-ackwardsly because I'm actually featuring shots of issue #86 first (with the cover shot of Buckaroo) and then I'm going to get to #85 second. Honestly, I don't even have a particularly good reason for that. But look at the fold out poster in the front of issue #86! Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! or, as the kids nowadays are wont to call it, "STARLOG Science Fiction Classic #20". And check out the facing-page ad! A Star Trek III tabletop paper-and-dice game that is "a simulation of Starship combat in the final frontier" which I highly doubt could possibly be as intense as they are hoping you'll think it is. 

You guys... YOU GUYS. A Cloak & Dagger article! Now admittedly, it's a pretty light piece, being a plot synopsis, list of actors in the film, and a mention of the inspirations and creative team behind the movie... but YOU GUYS. Once upon a time, people could just go out and buy magazines with articles about Cloak & Dagger in them??? I want to go to there. 

Then this. "Dan O'Herlihy: Full-time actor, part-time iguana." Actually, the other issue I picked up had a Starfighter article in it as well, but in a crushing moment of disappointment I realized that the issue had somehow been printed without a page #59/60! It was a pretty in-depth article, too! In fact, page 59 was the second half of an article about Robert Zemeckis trying to turn "The Shadow" into a feature film... in 1984!!! Instead we got the Alec Baldwin version (which I am actually a fan of) 10 years later. But I can't help but wonder... Anyway... Yeah... Dan O'Herlihy. Moving on. 

There was a pretty great feature on the special effects behind the Rancor... This stuff has probably been archived and bandied about by die-hard-hardcore Star Wars fans for decades now, but did that awesome concept art up in the top left corner! 

An interview/focus piece on "nebbish, ner, & famous hoser" Rick Moranis! I love the caption under his photo: "Moranis as nebbish in Ghostbusters". Which pretty much sums it in the weirdest way possible. I like how the photo also seems to be Moranis in a very out-of-character moment. No trace of Tully in there at all, even though he's obviously in costume. 

And article about "The Brother from Another Planet" Someone honestly tell me if this was worth watching. I think it's on Netflix right now. That's... all I've got to say about this. 

GREMLINS!!!! That is all. 

Aaand an article on the Neverending story. I can rest in peace now. 

Okay, so onto issue #85 (With Conan on the cover and tragically missing a VITAL page...) here we have a very nice gatefold Bladerunner poster or as it is known more commonly, "STARLOG Science Fiction Classic #19".

Not surprisingly, there was a big Conan the Destroyer article. With lots of greasy half-naked people flex-posing. This didn't really do a lot for me (also, I hope, not surprisingly). 

Aaand then I pooped my pants. In this article, Jim Henson is talking about a little film called "Labyrinth" which they are currently developing with Brian Froud. None of the cast members have been cast at this time. It boggles (Hoggle!!!) the mind to think back on a time when Labyrinth was still just... just... an IDEA. 

There was a Harlan Ellison article that would not have made sense to me before I started watching Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated with my boys. As Harlan Ellison has just always looked like this to me:

And nothing like this:

Because Harlan Ellison is EXACTLY the kind of Scooby-Doo celebrity guest
that the kids these days are going to feel is relevant.
(I know, this one was for the adults... but still, weird, right?)
The article is all about Harlan Ellison's effect on the sci-fi landscape, not just as an author, but as an editor, as a personality, as an educator, and as a bona fide creative genius celebrity madman. It was a nice read. 

MORE Gremlins!!! This time focusing on Joe Dante instead of Chris Columbus. 

And to wrap it all up, a nice Ivan Reitman piece with lots of focus on Ghostbusters. Phew! 

All in all, I never knew what a great treasure trove of old pop-culture goodness a couple old issues of Starlog could be... but I will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more copies in the wild from now on!!!

That's it for tonight kids, but I'll be randomly popping up on here in the future, so keep your peepers peeled! 


  1. Wow. I think these movie photos are actually higher quality and more telling of their story than the kinds of photos we get today in magazines like "Entertainment" or "Empire". Then again it could also be a case of seeing the "humble beginnings" of something so big. I can just imagine would it must have been like to go into something like "Temple of Doom" completely cold.

    Harlan Ellison is an interesting figure for sure, though he's someone I know for being himself rather than for the work he ultimately did. I know he wrote the "Lost City on the Edge of Forever" episode of Star Trek and that he had a beef over the idea for "The Terminator", but its not like Ray Bradbury or Rod Serling were I can say " he wrote these kinds of stories".

    I can understand his temperament to a certain degree. When you're really passionate about something, you get to a point were you just can't tolerate any kind of BS.

    Oh, and thank you for mentioning Mystery Inc. Even though it was getting praise over the Internet, I felt like I was the only one watching and thought to myself "Wow. I completely misjudged this franchise".

    1. Oh no, you are NOT alone. I am planning a whole post around my renewed interest in Scooby-Doo JUST because of this show.

      All I could think of the entire time I was flipping through these magazines was "Once upon a time, no one had ever SEEN these films. These were NEW. What was that even LIKE?"

    2. I recently read the autobiography of Iwao Takamoto, the character designer for the original Scooby series. He had some funny points like how people kept coming up to him saying how they got "what he was really trying to say" citing hidden drug references, innuendo, subtle satire of American politics and economics in the cartoon. He commented that none of those things were intentional, but that every time he hears some crazy theory he says "I ought to fire my press agent, all these college kids are willing to make me look like a genius for free!"

      He had enough of a sense of humor to close the book by saying "And I got away with it thanks to those meddling kids and their dog!" Curiously though he wrote longer and more fondly about his time working on Johnny Quest, which he lamented not seeing a stake in pop culture like Scooby had.

      It is curious to try and think why one thing became something that every generation knows while the other seems to remain a curious footnote at best.

    3. What's funny because as a kid I WANTED more Johnny Quest. I don't even remember how I knew about the show, but I'd seen it somewhere and was dying to see more but didn't really get it until I was probably too old to appreciate it. I could completely see them doing something very similar to Mystery Incorporated with Johnny Quest... just tweaking the formula a bit. Thundarr was the same way for me. I remember catching an episode of it when I was about 9 years old at a friend's house and DESPERATELY wanting to see more of it. But those older cartoons just hadn't survived long enough for me to be able to see them when they were being produced new. And for some reason they just didn't have the same staying power or demand.

      As for staying power, I think ultimately it is the dog, Scooby himself, contrasted against the often genuinely creepy villains and locales that makes the show so memorable. Scooby is this weird, children's everyman. Kids can relate to being scared of the Creeper, and they can relate to the goofy, hungry, cowardly dog. I know when I was little, Scoob Doo was in syndication and I would get home from school and watch two back-to-back episodes of it right after General Hospital wrapped up. I felt like I was watching MY equivalent of CSI or A Nightmare on Elm Street or whatever. It was as dark and scary as I was able to go when I was that age. And that was thrilling and memorable. So it stuck with me. I remember thinking that I wished when I was scared at night of something, I could dress myself up in a disguise and completely mess with the monster the same way Scooby and Shaggy did.

  2. Wow that is some great stuff there. I love Cloak and Daggar. I got to do a play back in 1992 in San Antonio and was thrilled to be able to go on the riverwalk where it was filmed.

    1. It's one I fell in love with when I was younger and have been afraid to go back and watch for fear of losing my rose-colored glasses.

  3. I was pretty floored by how many amazing movies they were featuring here either in an "up-coming film" sort of way or a "recently released" sort of way. The time period was truly a renaissance. (If I'm using that term correctly).

  4. I have not thumbed through one of these in years nice seeing some of these older ones.

    1. I don't think I've ever thumbed through an issue in my life to be honest! This was a pretty exciting find for me.

  5. OMG, a magazine with an article about Indiana Jones!! :D :D :D
    I love Indiana Jones.
    In the last movie of Indiana Jones there's a character named Satipo. In fact, Satipo is a city located in the Amazon highlands, in PerĂº. Satipo is also the name of a river.
    I was there once :D :D :D

    1. Ha! I love the fun-facts! I'm so glad I had something in here to tickle your fancy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...